NorthLight Music

Hi there and welcome to the site.

There are many things in life to enjoy and music, whether playing, writing or listening is up there in my holy trinity.

At times I have been full time in the biz but really over the years Id say I’ve been happy to be a hobbyist musician even though I’ve had the good luck to have had publishing deals and to have been involved in large recording contracts.

So as songwriter with or for other folk or as just one of the guys in whatever band I thought I would like both to promote my new album Late Life Believer and to put my historical output in the form of the songs I have written or co-written “out there” into the great world wide ether.

 So the site gives access to all the recordings released since 1984 up to now that I have been involved in as songwriter and or performer and with some background information. The Recording History page gives access to the major label albums as well as the independent recordings and the Live History page has samples from some of the various outfits Ive worked with. As most of the live music precedes the arrival of digital,  Youtube and mp3’s Ive had to go back to those unplayed cassettes which somehow have stayed with me all these years stashed under beds etc. 

So please explore as a browser or keen shopper and if you find something you like that would be very nice too.


Northlight is a project put together by Martin McGroarty, a songwriter and musician who has many years of songwriting and performance behind him. Martin currently lives in the Calder Valley and the other singers and musicians on the album are friends from around there (There’s more about Martin and the people involved in this album below). The songs are a mixture of those written by Martin, co-writes and one cover of a Welsh song written by Catrin Gerallt who also co-wrote a couple of the other songs.

You’d expect somebody with Martin’s experience to produce, along with the musicians and singers collaborating on this, to make something that is musically great – and there’s some fantastic playing on this album, vocally impressive and really well produced and arranged. So I’ll start by saying it is, there’s no song on this that doesn’t impress. The songwriting – both the words and tunes (so to speak) – is equally as impressive. Style wise the songs range from jazzy R’n’B to folk.

There is, to be honest, something of a slightly retro feel to the music. This isn’t a criticism, it’s actually a compliment, it has that concentration on putting the song across – the words are important – as well as showcasing the players and singers. This reminds me of music from the late 60s and early 70s. However it isn’t completely retro, that’s a feel, there is something of a ‘brought up to date’ thing going on.

I’d not going to be doing a ‘track by track’, I’ll be picking out favourites. Album opener ‘In Too Deep’ is a jazzy Latin tinged thing with lovely vocals by Ruth Gardziel and a sax break to die for. I say ‘jazzy Latin tinged thing’ but there are parts of this which kinda remind me of Joni Mitchell. It drives along in a great way, and has a tune that stays with you.

‘Late Life Believer’ has something of a Tom Waits thing going on – more early Tom than later Tom – if I’m honest. It’s jazzy, kinda RnB-ish and the vocal – by Dave Rigg – is in that spoken bluesy way. The standout thing about this track is the flute. It has me in mind of an album my Dad had – oh do I wish I could remember who it was by – that I loved.

For ‘Share The Gold’ the feel shifts into 70s’ balled. It’s basically guitar, voice – Antonia Bycraft in this case – and oh so delicate drums. With a lovely restrained sax solo. ‘Rainstorm’ has me in mind of that classic folk-rock sound.

‘Cân Yr Haf’ (Summer Song) with vocals by Catrin Gerallt is a track that left me reeling – it’s just beautiful. Voice and guitar in perfect harmony.
This may not sound like the ‘sort of thing I love’ given my rather obviously liking for loud and difficult music but if you’ve been keeping up with my reviews (you have haven’t you?) you’ll know that I love a well written, played and sang song; and these are very definitely that.
The songs and music on this album are quietly impressive. It’s music that gently seeps into your head and quietly takes up residence there. It’s music that soothes and beguiles. And we all need music that does that sometimes.
The album can be previewed and purchased as downloads from CDBaby:

Frank Roper - West Yorkshire Sound & Vision

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